Q. My husband is a workaholic. He leaves early in the morning, and I'm usually asleep before he comes home at night. The weekends aren't much better. What can I do?
It's no fun to be married to a workaholic. Like any addiction, there are usually underlying reasons that your husband feels compelled to work all the time. Good communication can help you understand each other better and come up with some solutions --
Express Your Feelings.
Tell your husband how you feel. Unless he knows exactly how you feel, he may not realize that you are feeling ignored or unappreciated.
Carefully listen to what your husband tells you. Is he overwhelmed at work? Does the time fly by without him noticing? Or is he playing video games for hours after he's done working? Understanding the reasons for his long hours can help you cope—especially if the hours are seasonal or he's fighting to save his job.
Set relationship goals that you are both happy with. Mark Zuckerberg's longtime partner, Priscilla Chan, once dumped him for his workaholic behaviors. Mark made some compromises, such as committing to spending 100 minutes per week of private time and going on one date per week, and Priscilla took him back. They made their workaholic relationship work and married last week (the day after Facebook went public).
Great communication advice, Mom! On a somber note, workaholic behavior can sometimes mask other problems.
Look for suspicious behavior.
I have had many friends whose "workaholic" husbands were covering up an affair. If your husband is exhibiting any telltale behavior (gaps or inconsistent information in his stories, sudden interest in weight loss, lipstick on a collar, etc.), you may want to do a little digging.
Check financial records.
Most likely, your husband is working to make ends meet—a stressful task, especially if he is providing for a family with children. Even so, you should know what is going in and out of your bank accounts. It's possible that your husband is trying to compensate for a gambling loss or a bad investment in the stock market and doesn't want you to worry.
With the looming demise of the 9-to-5 workday, it's easy to become a workaholic—especially during these uncertain economic times. But with good communication, a healthy does of understanding, and a little sleuthing, you can unravel the reasons behind the workaholic syndrome and start to take some positive steps in your relationship.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Kathy and Amy